When I started dating my husband, over 9 years ago, he gifted me with something that took me awhile to appreciate, hunting. Although my dad was an avid hunter, fisher, and outdoorsman, I was never exposed to that growing up. Insert future-husband Branden. His family loved hunting, and they took an annual trip each fall to hunt in western Alberta. I’ll admit, although I loved the camping trips, getting outdoors, swimming, and cool nights by the fire, I would often get bored with hunting itself.
Hunting requires patience, a lot of patience, often with no reward. Even when we did get something, it was followed by a lot of back breaking work, skinning, hauling, hanging, cutting the meat up. Most often it is just my husband and I who do the cutting the meat up. It is W-O-R-K. Hard work. Branden loved the entire experience but I was not as infatuated with it. It took me awhile to understand why. Why do you love this crazy lifestyle?
It wasn’t until my dad gifted me a gun in 2014 that I realized how much I could love hunting. It opened up a new aspect to hunting trips that didn’t really exist before, that I could actually be a hunter, instead of just am observer. As macabre as it sounds, the idea of getting meat for our family, of being a provider was so indescribable. I wanted so badly to be able to get us meat that we needed. I finally started understanding my husbands love a little bit more.
It took me months, 8 months to be exact, before I would kill my first moose. I’ll never forget the feeling. Adrenaline, fear, humbleness in the act itself. Truly indescribable. Now when I hunt, I enjoy it. Even though most of the time I know Branden will be taking the shot, and that even more often no shot will be taken, it is just so much more enjoyable because I am much more immersed in it. I listen, I hold my breath, was that a moose walking through the bush? Hunting is now experience that nothing can compare to, enriched by my senses being so much more aware of the land surrounding me. What a gift. Hunting is still the same amount of work as before, more in fact because now that I am one of the hunters, is is expected that I’ll contribute more to every other aspect. It takes hours to cut up a moose, I can do it. I’ve also hauled my share of legs. This past season I was trying to surprise my husband by getting two legs cut up while he was at work. I ended up cutting my finger and going to the hospital (just to be safe), but I promise I am most often more competent and careful. It was also a great lesson in keeping our knives sharp. Unfortunately I didn’t get to finish cutting the meat up for him before he got home.
Our favorite meat is moose. We won’t hunt deer because we don’t like to the taste of deer. We snare rabbits and hunt ducks, they make amazing soups. In the summer months we love to fish, walleye is our favorite. It’s so rewarding to know that we get this food from the land, we know exactly where it comes from. We don’t like spending our money on the insanely priced meat at the supermarkets, so it is also rewarding in that aspect. We don’t over hunt, but we try get enough to last our small family until the following season. We have so many stories to tell that are so much more richer when I look back on them, experiences that I am much more grateful to have, because of my newfound appreciation of hunting.
I am so excited to raise our future children with the gift of hunting, that not long ago I took for granted.